Utah junior Cole Bishop was named to his third preseason watch list ahead of the 2023 season on Monday. BYU junior Ben Bywater, meanwhile, made his second.

The Utes junior safety, a preseason Pac-12 all-conference selection, was named to the Bednarik Award watch list, an award given annually to college defensive player of the year.

He’s also been named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list (top college defensive back) and Nagurski Trophy watch list (nation’s best defensive player).

Bywater was also named to the Bednarik Award watch list. The Cougars linebacker previously had been to the Butkus Award watch list (nation’s top college linebacker).


Three linebackers and two defensive backs with ties to the state of Utah were named to the college football watch lists on Thursday.

Utah’s Karene Reid and BYU’s Ben Bywater made the Butkus Award watch list, an award given annually to the nation’s top college linebacker, along with USC’s Mason Cobb, a Provo High product who transferred to the Trojans this year from Oklahoma State.

All three linebackers hail from Utah: Bywater is from Salt Lake County and Olympus High, while Reid, like Cobb, is a Utah County talent who played at Timpview High.

Meanwhile, Utah safety Cole Bishop and Utah State safety Ike Larsen were named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, an award given annually to the country’s top college defensive back.

Both Bishop and Larsen were named preseason all-conference selections in the Pac-12 and Mountain West Conference, respectively.


One of BYU’s top transfers this offseason was named to a major college award watch list on Wednesday.

Cougar running back Aidan Robbins is one of 75 candidates for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top college running back.

Robbins in his first season in Provo after transferring from UNLV. Last season with the Rebels, he ran for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns while adding 23 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown.

Prior to playing at UNLV, Robbins started his college career off with two seasons at Louisville.


Utah senior quarterback Cameron Rising was added to another watch list on Tuesday, as one of 35 quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien Award watch list — and the only one from the state of Utah.

Rising was named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award last season, when he threw for 3,034 yards and 26 touchdowns while also rushing for 465 yards and six scores in leading the Utes to their second straight Pac-12 championship.

Davey O’Brien Award is given annually to the country’s top college quarterback.

Rising was also named named to the Maxwell Award watch list last week. The Maxwell is awarded to the best player in college football.


The high number of Utah ties on the John Mackey Award watch list shows the strength of the tight end position in the state this year.

On Friday, Utah seniors Brant Kuithe and Thomas Yassmin, as well as BYU junior Isaac Rex, were named to the watch list for the award annually handed out to the nation’s top tight end.

Kuithe is a three-time all-Pac-12 honoree and is coming back from a season cut short by an ACL injury, while Yassmin is coming off his best season as a Ute.

Rex was named to the Mackey Award watch list for the third straight year.

Also on Friday, BYU junior Connor Pay was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. The trophy is awarded annually to college football’s best center.


On Thursday, three Utah ties were added to the list of preseason award watch lists with the release of the Wuerffel Trophy and Paul Hornung Award watch lists.

The highest profile of these athletes is Utah senior tight end Brant Kuithe, who was named to the watch list for the Hornung Award, given annually to the nation’s most versatile player. Kuithe is coming off a season-ending ACL injury early in the 2022 season and is a three-time all-Pac-12 selection.

Joining him on the Hornung watchlist is Utah State wide receiver Terrell Vaughn, a senior contributes as a receiver, runner and returner for the Aggies.

BYU defensive end Tyler Batty and Utah State long snapper Jacob Garcia made the list for the Wuerffel Award, which is college football’s premier award for community service.

Batty and Garcia are juniors heading into the 2023 season.


On Wednesday, a pair of Utah ties were named to the Ray Guy Award watch list.

Utah State’s Stephen Kotsanlee and BYU’s Ryan Rehkow were named to the list for the award annually given to the nation’s top college football punter.

Kotsanlee averaged 43.4 yards per punt for the Aggies last season and had more than a third of his 67 punts (24) downed inside the 20-yard line.

Rehkow made the Ray Guy preseason watch list for the third straight year. He averaged 46.2 yards per punt during the 2022 season.


On Tuesday, five more players who play for either Utah or BYU were added to preseason watch lists.

Leading the way were three Utes who were named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best interior lineman (can be either an offensive or defensive lineman).

Guard Keaton Bills, offensive tackle Sataoa Laumea and defensive tackle Junior Tafuna were the trio named.

Also named to the list was BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia, who is widely considered to be a potential first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft.

Elsewhere, two Utes were named to the watch list for the Nagurski Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best defensive player overall.

Tafuna was also named to that list, as was safety Cole Bishop.


College football’s annual official award watch list season returned Monday, and the state of Utah is well-represented.

Unveiled on Monday was the watch list for the Maxwell Award, and BYU transfer quarterback Kedon Slovis, BYU transfer running back Aidan Robbins and Utah quarterback Cam Rising were among the 85 names on the list.

The Maxwell Award is given to “the best player in college football.”

Slovis comes to BYU after three seasons at USC and one at Pitt. In all, he has thrown for 9,973 yards with 68 touchdowns against 33 interceptions.

Robbins, meanwhile, comes to BYU after two seasons at Louisville and one at UNLV. He has rushed for 1,062 yards on 216 carries with 10 touchdowns.

As for Rising, he began his collegiate career at Texas but did not appear in a game before transferring to Utah.

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In three seasons at Utah, Rising has thrown for 5,572 yards with 46 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.